When Sam Mulopulos ’13 (pictured) and Joe Wlos ’15 entered the American Collegiate Moot Court Association’s Midwest Regional Tournament to compete as Grinnell’s first ever Moot Court team, they weren’t sure what to expect.
A competition that simulates appellate law – like a mock Supreme Court – Moot Court is a growing interest for many colleges. While some teams have as many as 10 rotating team members and multiple coaches, these two political science majors went at it alone, with no previous experience.
They swept the regional tournament in November, taking third place and earning them a bid at the national tournament in Arizona.
“The people there didn’t believe us that we had just started,” Mulopulos says. “We were such underdogs; we had never done this before.”
Mulopulos and Wlos agree they owe a lot to Rosenfield Professor of Political Science Wayne Moyer. Both completed their Mentored Advanced Project (MAP) with Moyer. Mulopulos’ focused on presidential powers in wartime, while Wlos’ looked at habeas corpus and Guantanamo Bay. When the 2013-14 Moot Court case was released, Mulopulos jumped at the opportunity to apply what they had learned in their studies, recruiting Wlos to form Grinnell’s team.
Although their team didn’t place when they traveled to Sandra Day O’Connor Law School in Arizona for the Moot Court Tournament in January, they are proud of all that they accomplished.
“I think it was an incredibly enriching and exciting experience,” says Wlos. “I am extremely grateful that Sam convinced me to get involved.”
And the future of Moot Court at Grinnell?
Mulopulos graduated last semester but Wlos hopes to find another partner and organize more pairs to compete at next year’s regional tournament.
“I think that Moot Court is an incredible opportunity to start learning about legal careers as an undergraduate,” says Wlos, “and I would like to help other students have a great experience.”